|Scooped by Kassandra Saravia|
The key point of bilingual education in helping a student learn English is that they can't advance in an unknown language without a good and continuously growing base in their native language. The article even says, "Once we can read in one language, we can read in general." The easiest way to abide by this statement in helping a student learn a new language is to increase their knowledge in their primary language before teaching them a new one, or rather at the same time that they are expanding it. At the same time it's also important to have time to teach the students English directly in ESL classrooms.
I do agree with the sheltered classes in the beginning in order to help them feel comfortable with the language before full immersion but I don't think that it should be the whole day for them because it is important to be around conversational English which can be of great difference to the educational English terms having to do with science and math. The students also need to learn how to speak comfortably and that is something that can only be possible with them also being in class with students speaking casually.
This article also points out that there have people who have succeeded without the bilingual education programs but that also has to do with the neighborhoods that the students grow up in. If a student is immersed in a Spanish speaking neighborhood then he will not have help learning English because those around him don't and so he may also fail to see the point. The other part is that the students who succeed without it need to have knowledge of subject matter in thier language because that can translate over into English given that they already have a base to build off of.
It also works with langages besides Spanish of course and it is possible with languages such as Chinese like I have scooped earlier with the school that has a Mandarin Chinese immersion program.
The evidence that is used to go against bilingual programs isn't strong enough. The programs just need improvements and support both from the communities around them and financially. A very important way that it can be helped is in providing English books to those learners so that they can continue to work on the language at home as well and improve all around.